Actors, comedy writers and everyday people will read their true stories with a live DJ score Friday at Bricolage Theater. At the storytelling event WordPlay, the creator and producer, Alan Olifson, will work with each performer to develop the perfect soundtrack to their story.
Mr. Olifson is a native of Los Angeles and has a background in stand-up comedy. He moved to Pittsburgh two years ago to work as a software developer by day and comedian by night. He's the host of Pittsburgh's monthly Moth StorySLAM series, which is affiliated with the national The Moth organization and radio show. The show is held the first Tuesday of every month at the Rex Theater.
In recent months, shows have sold out, with as many as 100 people turned away. "I am pleasantly surprised with the response to the show," said Mr. Olifson. "People seem to really love it and the format."
After the success of Moth StorySLAM, he now is transplanting WordPlay to Pittsburgh after it ran in Los Angeles for five years. He said Los Angeles had lots of storytelling shows, but when he made the move to Pittsburgh, only one show was using a live soundtrack.
Friday will be the first installment of this quarterly series. Each story will last 10 to 15 minutes. The storytellers include David Harris-Gershon, Nora McLoughlin, Mr. Olifson, Amanda Hamilton Roos and Todd Shaffer, and the live music will be provided by DJ Firefly. There will be new storytellers and DJs for every show.
"I liked the idea of starting my own show because stage time in L.A. is hard to come by," he said. He began to notice how much music can drive storytelling in movies and thought it would be interesting to see how it would work with more classic storytelling.
"When the audience sees someone reading off of something, you can get away with a more literary flavor," he said.
He reads every story and, using anything from Bach to Britney Spears, creates an original score. He also collaborates closely with the DJ, who will rehearse with the storytellers before the show. "Each story is kind of produced like a mini movie or play," he said. "I want each individual DJ to contribute their style.
"Everyone loves a good story and they'd be amazed of the story that everyday people have to tell," he added. "Hopefully at the end of the day, they hear a good story and are reminded of the good stories they have."
The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $15. For more information, www.bricolagepgh.org or 412-471-0999.